Databases & Websites by Subject
- What Are My Old Books Worth?
Are the books in your attic or basement valuable?
It is not necessarily true that if a book is old, it must
be rare; or that if a book is rare, it must be valuable.
In reality, few books are rare and fewer still are valuable.
- Many copies of very old books still exist.
They are neither rare nor valuable.
- Many old books are in poor condition and buyers will not
pay much for them.
An old book may be rare but no buyer may want it. For example,
your family's Bible is rare but it is worth little
because another buyer does not want to purchase it.
The two most important factors in book valuation are:
- Does someone else want this book?
- What is the condition of the book?
The condition of a book is very important in determining
its value. If it is in need of repair, has missing pages,
or has a broken spine, the price will be lower.
If you'd like to know if your books are valuable,
start by using the library sources listed here. Remember,
these sources list the price that a copy of a book in very
good condition sold for in the past, or list the amount
a dealer is willing to pay. There is no guarantee that
you will be able to sell your copy of that book for a similar
Sources on the Value of Specific Books
Collecting 2000: A Comprehensive Guide by Allen Ahearn - 1999
Books: The Guide to Values by Allen Ahearn - 2011
Book Collector's Price Guide - 2009
Huxford's Old Book Value Guide - 2001
Official Price Guide to Collecting Books - 2008
You can also use the library’s website for online sources on the value of specific books. To find the current prices asked for by booksellers or the general public, go to www.downersgrovelibrary.org, hover on “Research” then click on “Databases and Websites by Subject.” Choose “Consumer Information.” The Price It! Antiques and Collectibles database on this page includes prices on rare and used books.
You can also use the websites listed on the “Books and Reading” subject page. Scroll down to the section called “Used and Rare Books, Listing of” to find websites that list current prices asked for by booksellers or the general public:
Sources on Selling your Books
After you determine the value of your books, you must
decide how you wish to sell them. You may sell them yourself,
or use a bookseller or dealer.
Professional organizations to contact for information
Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America
Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association
Prepared by Bonnie Reid, May 2012